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Play Day at UCSF Benioff

On November 7th 2017 GameChanger hosted a Play Day at UCSF Benioff in San Francisco.

Along with our team, volunteers from EA and Twitch were in attendance to play games with the kids and hand out fun gifts to hospital patients and their siblings.

When bringing therapeutic gaming and VR to children in hospitals, there’s always a source of inspiration to behold. It comes from witnessing the resilience of children patients who have a sense of wonder that only a young person can have and from the caring Child Life staff we meet.

In a similar way, inspiration fills the room when you experience volunteers coming to one of our Play Days. Generally speaking, these are people who like to take a moment out of their busy schedules to bring a bit of cheer to children staying in hospitals.

Volunteering was a core element of our recent GameChanger Play Day.

GameChanger Charity was thrilled to be invited to EA’s 11th Annual Nonprofit showcase. Located at EA’s headquarters in Redwood City, California, the day featured various charities that expressed interest in working with volunteers from the EA team.

The offer we established for employees was to join us for a Play Day at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital where they would spend time playing games with children staying at the hospital in order to bring a bit of fun to their day.

The more we talked with folks at EA the more we could see that the people who came by to discuss GameChanger’s mission were enthusiastic about putting energy toward a cause.

Fast-forward a couple weeks later to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. Not only did we have four amazing team members from EA join us, we also had a crew from Twitch Charity in attendance along with talented music streamer Tammy Byerly.

We had two rooms available for use. One of them, a digital AV lab that UCSF Benioff created to be used exclusively by their patients, featured a green screen along with just about any resource one would need to create a TV show and let their imagination run wild.

We set up 2 VR devices. One, an HTC Vive, which had various games like Fruit Ninjas and Tilt Brush. The other, a PSVR with VR Worlds that featured a virtual luge game. David Arditti and Nate Aschenbach, our resident VR Specialists and all-around good guys, managed the gaming and helped guide the kids through new experiences in the virtual reality space.

The next room over was a teen lounge where multiple consoles were set-up with a variety of games including Guitar Hero, Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA 2018, Super Smash Bros on Wii-U, and an Oculus VR headset featuring Medium, an art game where you draw in a 3D space!

We also had games spilling out into the hallways including Marvel’s Lego Avengers and Angry Birds Star Wars, which is also where our table of gifts was located where patients, brothers and sisters were able to choose from an assortment of fun gifts.

Toys we brought along were supplied by our awesome partners at Hasbro and included Mr. Potato Head, Nerf Basketball sets, Upwords Board Games, Baby Alive dolls and Marvel Iron Man Action Figures. SkyLanders were available as well, which Activision has so graciously donated.

It seemed that as soon as we set up a group of kids came to play! With excited smiles, the patients and siblings adventured through VR landscapes and enjoyed playing the various games with our volunteers.

A highlight to note, Tammy Byerly played her guitar for one of the patients who was delighted to experience such a unique talent singing right in front of them. As a special bonus, EA donated some of their top new games to the hospital so patients could have access to some of the newest and best video games out today.

A big thanks goes to the volunteers from EA and Twitch that joined us for GameChanger Play Day! Of course, we can’t thank UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital enough for having us. Stay tuned for more from GameChanger Charity and our partnerships with awesome companies like these by following us on our Twitter!

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